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Feel Good Effect: 3 Grateful Things

Feel Good EffectRobyn Downs6 Comments

The Feel Good Effect is a series exploring the habits, tactics and mindsets that you can use in your real life to feel good, everyday.

How it works: Each week I adopt a new Feel Good practice and trial it in my own life for 2 weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks I share what I did, how it went, and the Feel Good Effect.

Feel Good Week 1: 3 Grateful Things


Feel Good Practice

Write down 3 things I’m grateful for each day.


Time Commitment

3-5 minutes each day.


Set-Up 

Minimal. Just a designated place to record the list each day.


Cost

Nothing, as long as the list is recorded electronically or in a currently owned journal. 

Otherwise, between $8 to $20 if purchasing a designated gratitude journal.


Why I Tried It

We all have good things and bad things that happen in our lives. 

Gratitude amplifies our enjoyment and appreciation of the good, which research has shown to not only improve mood, but to also improve overall life satisfaction. 

It turns out that when we intentionally recognize and think about all of the good things (and good people) in our life it actually makes our life better. 


My Feel Good Experience

I knew I could create a document on my computer or note on my phone to create a gratitude list, but as I spend too much time on devices as it is, I decided to place an order for a blank paged journal

When the journal arrived I cracked it open and stared at the blank pages. 

There’s something both inspiring and intimidating about all that blank space, so I decided to write in the dates for the next two weeks, leaving space for 3 grateful things under each date.

Having the dates written in gave me a little more structure, and served as a prompt so that I didn’t forget to write 3 things each day.

Originally I set out to write the 3 things each morning, but this practice proved to be more challenging than I thought. 

First I placed the journal next to my bed, in the hopes that I’d jot down my grateful list upon waking. Um, that definitely did not happen.

After multiple days of forgetting to write the list until the last possible moment, I scheduled time at the beginning of my work day. 

I found that adding the gratitude list into my morning work flow made it easier to remember.

At first writing 3 things seemed daunting, as if I had to reflect on the deepest gifts of my life. 

To take the pressure off, I decided to focus instead on the tiny details of everyday life, the things that add goodness but that can be taken for granted or missed in the daily grind.

3 Grateful Things.jpg

3 Grateful Things: The List

March 25

Dry shampoo

Streaming music while working

Hot shower

March 26

Homemade pancakes

Husband who makes homemade pancakes

Hot tea

March 27

Elle laughing in her sleep in the morning 

Light coming through the window filtered by bamboo leaves

Fresh blueberries

March 28

Indoor heat

Grandma and Elle art time

Cozy, soft, comfortable bed

March 29

Husband who gets up first to make coffee

Warm, cozy jacket

Health insurance

March 30

B12 injections

Elle holding my hand on the way into school

Internet at home

March 31

Flexible work hours so I can pick Elle up from school

Fresh, clean water

Talking to my lifelong best friend about life and kids and everything else

April 1

Views of the river with the sun sparkling off the surface

Strong legs to walk and hike with

Indoor plumbing

April 2

The sun!

Family hikes

Hard cider

April 3

Working from home

Listening to my favorite podcasts

Family dinner

April 4

Living so close to my mom and dad

Elle’s school (and that she likes going to school in the morning)

My laptop

April 5

Living in Portland

Having a washer and dryer at home

My slow cooker (and having dinner waiting at the end of the day)

April 6

Our car 

Bedtime snuggles with Elle

Blooming daffodils


Challenges

Even though writing 3 grateful things each day only takes a few minutes, creating space to make it a daily habit was a bit challenging. 

Thinking of new things each day was also challenging at first. I could think of the big things: family, health, etc., but thinking beyond the large categories was difficult at first.

I found that focusing on the small details of life make thinking of grateful things so much easier.


Feel Good Effect

I noticed a Feel Good Effect in just 2 weeks of writing 3 grateful things. Specifically, I noticed that within just a few days my mind started noticing grateful things throughout the day. 

Instead of focusing on the typical complaints and negativity that sometimes creeps in, I found that I was finding dozens of little grateful things throughout the day, which really helped me feel good each day.

I should note here that during this 2 week period I received some news from my doctor that was rather upsetting, and spent a few days in a dark mood.

Despite the negative feelings I experienced during this time, finding things to be grateful helped lift my spirits (if ever so slightly) and helped me keep some perspective on all the good in my life.

Overall Feel Good Effect: High

Want to try this Feel Good Practice for yourself? Subscribe for free, exclusive access to the Feel Good Practice Journal Pages Library!


Is gratitude journaling a daily Feel Good practice for you? How do you incorporate it into your routine? What positive effects have you experienced as a result?